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Cunningham downhaul

In sailing, a cunningham or cunningham's eye is a type of downhaul used on a Bermuda rigged sailboat to change the shape of a sail. Sailors also often refer to the cunningham as the "smart pig"–a play on words "cunning ham" that can be found in sailing forums.

It is named after its inventor, Briggs Cunningham, a victorious America's Cup skipper and yacht builder.[1]

The cunningham differs from a typical downhaul in the way that it attaches to the sail. The system usually consists of a line which is secured at one end to the mast or boom below the foot of the mainsail. It is then passed through a cringle in the luff of the sail near the foot, but above the tack, and then led down on the other side to a fitting on the mast or boom or on deck.

The tension in the luff of the sail is adjusted using a combination of the halyard and the cunningham (where fitted). The primary advantage of adjusting the cunningham is the speed and ease with which the luff tension can be changed while sailing or racing. By either hauling or easing the line, the tension in the luff can be changed, thereby shifting the point of maximum draft of the sail forward or aft respectively, optimizing sail shape—and therefore—performance. It is a fine control which is used more frequently on racing sailboats than on cruising or day-sailing boats.[2]


  1. ^ Barbara Lloyd (July 5, 2003). "Briggs Cunningham, 96, Racecar Pioneer and Sailing Champ". Obituaries. The New York Times. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "Sail shape". U.S. Sailing. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cunningham_(sailing) — Please support Wikipedia.
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13 news items

Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Sun, 23 Mar 2014 16:31:56 -0700

Forty-seven teams competed in the 2014 Etchells U.S. National Championship on March 21-23, hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami, FL. After completing six races over the first two days, Jim Cunningham with crew Jeff Madrigali, Mark Ivey, and Bryn ...
Washington Post
Wed, 22 Jul 2015 04:18:34 -0700

Once again, a flag has become a symbol of division. Less than a month after a massacre in Charleston by a white supremacist spurred nationwide debate over the Confederate flag, another mass shooting has fueled spurious flag rumors and spawned ...

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Thu, 23 Jul 2015 22:24:54 -0700

During the first expedition in 1605, Scottish explorer John Cunningham (sailing for Denmark) captured four Inuits and took them prisoner. The Inuits did not forget. Seven years later, when Englishman James Hall led another, privately funded expedition ...

Houston Chronicle (subscription)

Houston Chronicle (subscription)
Wed, 22 Jul 2015 15:59:46 -0700

Tim McCreary lowers the flags outside the Bismarck Elks Lodge in Bismarck on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Bismarck, N.D. McCreary, an Elks Club employee, said the flags outside the lodge are flown in accordance to national or state directions. North ...


Fri, 09 Jan 2015 02:18:45 -0800

A smart recovery from a bad start and good tactics helped keep Britain's Glen Truswell and Sam Pascoe in first place overall after the second race of the 2015 International 14 World Championships, being held at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club. They had a ...
Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 17:05:32 -0800

Jim Cunningham, sailing with Jeff Madrigali, Mark Ivy and Bryn Bachman took their third straight second place finish, in what had now become a two boat regatta. Phil Lotz on his boat, Arethusa, took third. In the last race it all came down to ...

My Sailing

My Sailing
Wed, 07 Jan 2015 06:26:15 -0800

It was a slow start to the official practice race day prior to the first day of the fleet racing in International 14s World Championship being hosted by Royal Geelong Yacht Club. As the breeze swung and changed pressure and clouds rolled in, Principle ...
Doghouse Boxing
Mon, 17 Mar 2008 00:01:01 -0700

IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham would like nothing better in his boxing career than unify the 4 title belts with now 3 belt champion David Haye. I had the pleasure to sit next to Cunningham Friday night at the New Alhambra boxing show as we ...

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